A Mother's Secret

Modern Love

Jul 13 2022 • 17 mins


Ayad Akhtar’s parents met in Pakistan in the early ’60s, when they were both medical students and “ridiculously attractive” — or so their friends say. Despite having a love marriage (against the wishes of their parents), theirs was rocky from the start.

“By the time I was 4, I already knew my father had ‘other women,’ as my mother used to call them,” Ayad wrote in his Modern Love essay. But it wasn’t until years later, when Ayad was an adult, that his mother shared her own confession with him.

Today, Ayad tells his story about seeing his mother in a new light. Then, we listen to a Tiny Love Story about a child who recognizes their parent for the very first time.

Ayad Akhtar, who received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is the author of the novel “Homeland Elegies” and the president of PEN America.